Kamanzi was speaking during the 16th edition of the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) Conference held on November 13th and 14th in Lagos State, Nigeria under the theme ‘The Future is Here’.
Wimbiz is a Nigerian non-profit organization established in 2001 which seeks to elevate the profile of professional women.
The Conference brought together over one thousand women from various areas of the corporate, business and public sectors including both local and international delegates.
Kamanzi said that women suffer the most, emotionally and physically from the throes of underdevelopment. He said, women are also incomparable agents and movers of transformation towards development.
He said Rwanda has witnessed antinomic evidence first hand two decades ago, during and in the aftermath of the perpetration of the genocide against the Tutsi
During the genocide, he said, women were exterminated in masses, in many cases after having been subjected to abject acts such as rape, deliberate HIV AIDS contamination, which resulted into acute trauma for those who survived, in addition to vulnerability caused by the loss of their family members.
“The socio-politically torn up and economically bankrupt Rwanda could only rely on the resilience, the selflessness of those brave women who willingly accepted to take part to the national reconciliation and reconstruction process” he said
“From the very beginning of this process women’s unmatched positive and instinctive attitude, their innate capability to understand and to withstand the challenges at hand, inspired the leadership of the Country to empower them further; to be able to play a more vital role in the transformation Rwanda needed” he said
He said women inclusion was so critical, as they made 52% of the population of Rwanda.
He cited constitutional provisions made to consecrate that inclusion, notably the compulsory representation of women by at least 30% of the constituency of the leadership of public decision-making institutions.
“Representation may be higher based on merit and competition. That explains why our parliament membership comprises 64% women. Current Cabinet counts more than 40% women. Strategic institutions like the Rwanda Development Board are headed by a woman” he said
He said, there exist specific programs dedicated to the promotion of the education of girls, such as the Promotion of Girls’ Education Campaign, championed by First Lady Jeannette Kagame through Imbuto Foundation, which among others rewards the best performing girls from different schools in Rwanda.
Programs to support the eradication of gender-based violence also are run across the country, with provision of Centres set up to educate communities in prevention, and to assist potential victims.
Such undertakings have earned Rwanda to rank among the best in the Global Parity Gap Index, whereby Rwanda ranked 5th after Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, for 2016.
“Rwanda is a strong believer in the power women hold for our societies to transform substantially. Africa has, of recent, been profiled as being on a positive trajectory towards emerging as an at par economic player globally. successes achieved so far with little or mitigated inclusion of women can certainly increase exponentially, should our respective nations walk the talk of women empowerment and gender equality” he urged.